Albums that people forgot yet hung around on my iPod

Strange how end of year lists seem to forget albums that were earlier in the year, for later. It’s as if people forgot they existed…I didn’t, partly because I tend to check out new stuff in a lump that’s not necessarily chronological, and also if I like something it tends to stick around. So here are some albums that stuck around my iPod, in maybe a rough order but not really…all recommended. A few are 2012 because quite often it takes me the next year to get something that came out in late 2012 and some missed all the end of year / award hype…A few are popular choices, but others are quite surprising absences.

  • John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts – great live, a real development from his last album, didn’t get the dancey numbers as much as others, but the slower ones with glacial synths were great
  • Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels – proving with Kanye and Pusha T that great hiphop is possible in the age of Drake and that terrible Eminem comeback.
  • Low – Invisible Way – surprised this return to form wasn’t on most people’s lists? Great live although was slightly freaked by the almost holy reverence of the crowd. Paper Cup and Clarence White are my favourites along with To Our Knees and On Our Own which became anthems of mine earlier in the year.
  • Big Black Delta – strictly a 2011 or 2012 album, but it got a proper release in 2013 and I bought it on CD even though I already had it on MP3…brilliance, want to hear more from Jonathan Bates. Something half scary half jubilant about his woozy distorted electro pop, Side of the Road, IFUCKINGLOVEYOU and Dreary Moon especially.
  • Gold Panda – Half of Where You Live – not as immediate as Lucky Shiner but like that album this also lurked on my iPod for ages. BTW Gold Panda got sampled by Charli XCX on You (Ha Ha Ha) which was the best part about that album, let alone track. Well actually, best part of her career outside of that Icona Pop song.
  • Disclosure – Settle
  • Daft Punk – RAM
  • Kanye – Yeezus – popular choices in the end of year lists, and rightly so. Disclosure brought future garage / speed garage mainstream, and was the sound of the summer. Yeezus proved you could still do different things with hip hop which weren’t drill / Chicago style backwards steps. Daft Punk has kind of lost some shine as an album, but much of 2013 was about that album. It’s more about the individual tracks maybe now but deserves to be here for the one person who might not have heard it…Chicism was back and in effect!
  • Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest – another one that I was meh about and it crept up on me. Initially sounded like a past-glory rehash for the reclusive Scots and the ultra hip / silly Augmented Reality release annoyed, but the album actually contains tracks that push the BOC sound further.
  • Phoenix – Bankrupt – surprised not to see this in lists so far, Bourgeoise, Trying Not To Be Cool and the half-heard asian TV theme of Entertainment haunted me throughout the year…a thoughtful  record about recession and the east.
  • Jon Hopkins – Immunity – this could actually be a placeholder for a lot of the Erased Taped lot – Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds et al whose classical meets glitchy ambience soundtracked a lot of late 2013 – but hearing the now retired King Creosote on the title track made this special for me.
  • London Grammar – another album that seems to have dropped through the cracks, which is odd since they owned a large chunk of 2013 with Hey Now and Wasting All My Years – maybe endless use as the sort of music that ends up  backing BBC trails tarnished their star somewhat, but nothing to do with them. Certainly a good update of those XX style moody indie songs, but with a far better singer.
  • My Bloody Valentine – mbv – mostly here for it’s absence in other lists, but also the track nicking the Blow Monkey’s Digging My Scene, which is excellent.
  • Pet Shop Boys – Electricity – again appears in a few of the good lists, but generally not. Definitely deserves to be here for Love is a Bourgeois Construst. What was it with me and songs about Bourgeoisie? Oh, yeah, recession.
  • Kisses – Kids in L.A. – a surprising late choice, from Joel response to my post asking for exactly what this post is about – albums that never left your iPod. 2013 is when I learnt to hate that LA sound – I mean Haim and all that, it was so dull, tepid and so endlessly sunny there was nothing real there. But Kisses won me over with their quirky and earworm songs, not instantly but they are like the American Metronomy.
  • The Presets – Pacifica
  • Lone – Galaxy Garden
  • Stubborn Heart – these are actually from late 2012 but didn’t outstay their welcome in 2013. Presets actually made MORE sense in 2013, I think it was ahead of it’s time, A.O. seems to sum up the schizophrenic times of NSA and Snowden. Lone’s album was a gem of relaxed rave ambience, if there is such a thing – (not actually)8bit game music for millenials. Stubborn Heart happily and soulfully updates the dubstep template in a way that doesn’t make me want to throw the computer out of the window with whiny vocals (see James Blake and his strangely feted Mercury winning album, which I’ve tried and tried and just given up…his music makes me want to go do some grouting, it’s that enjoyable). Need Someone and Better Than This kept popping up on my iPod and I kept listening…
  • Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety
  • Daughter  -If You Leave
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! – newer choices I’ve only just heard so may or may not stay. Autre Ne Veut really is the Prince of the 21st century, Ego Free Sex Free is Prince updated with trap beats and rave synths and children’s choir. Can’t go wrong with a children’s choir (ask Daft Punk). Daughter do that XX thing but with more minimal and I’d say better production (see also London Grammar) and also some really interesting lyrics. Songs like Lifeforms, Smother and Youth hinted at something deeper and darker than the usual girl leaves boy, girl writes sad song rhetoric. And also they did the best ‘Get Lucky’ cover of the year. Godspeed I’d tried to listen to before but got bored, and just listened to the whole album again now and really love it. So not sure what’s happening there…maybe all that Erased Tapes compilations and Daughter/BOC ambience has rewired my brain.

One Comment

  1. Martin
    December 30

    Thanks, I needed some considered recommendations. Happy new year.

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